The Casanova Code by Donna MacMeans
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Reviewed for TwoLips Reviews, LLC
4 Kisses, 1 Pepper - M/F, oral sex
Ashton Carswell Trewelyn the Third places a personal ad for a friend in the Mayfair Messenger where Edwina Hargrove's friend Sarah works. Sarah says he's no gentleman; he's a rake who debauches decent women. She says the rumor is he's Casanova. She and her friends decide that any women who respond to his ad should be warned, and the Rake Patrol is formed. When Edwina decodes an encrypted message that says there will be a meeting of The Guardians at Ashton's house, the girls decide to have a stakeout so they can rescue any unsuspecting innocents who might unwittingly be ensnared and debauched by Ashton and his fellow rakes.
Edwina knows she shouldn't be feeling attracted to Ashton, but she is. It doesn't help that she gets trapped with him in a hidden room where his father keeps his collection of erotic Japanese prints (shunga). When they discover a coded message that might have serious implications not only for Ashton’s family but also possibly for the Crown, Edwina’s natural code-breaking ability comes in handy and brings the two together.
Edwina was an interesting character. She rides a bicycle (very unconventional for a woman in that era), longs for adventure, and isn’t repulsed by the erotic images she sees in Ashton’s father’s collection. Ashton is also a great character. He has returned home from serving in the King’s Royal Rifles weary and changed. He’s no longer interested in the rakish activities he used to pursue, but he can’t figure out how to change his reputation. It’s such a part of his image that even Edwina doesn’t feel she can fully trust his intentions toward her.
There’s a lot to like about The Casanova Code by Donna MacMeans. It’s well written and smart, and I think it’s an excellent start to what promises to be a really good historical romance series.
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